Gum Disease: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
No doubt 2020 has made us change our way of life, and yet, our dental care needs remain the same. Your teeth, much like any other key part of your body, need special care. Bacteria and plaque build on and below the surface of your teeth and gums when oral hygiene is neglected. The longer it sits there increases your risk of developing gingivitis, which is the first stage of periodontitis.
Stages of Periodontitis
Gingivitis is where plaque and other by-products irritate the gums. It makes them tender, swollen, and much more likely to bleed while brushing. Periodontitis is stage two. Here, the gum tissue starts to deteriorate, detaching from the teeth to form noticeable pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and susceptible to decay. Finally, advanced periodontitis. Tooth pockets get quite deep as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss. In turn, this causes loose teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss.
Periodontitis is also linked to heart disease. When the bacteria attached to your teeth loosen, it then seeps into your bloodstream. Eventually, it reaches your arteries. There the plaque hardens, restricting blood flow to your heart and other organs.
Health Risks of Periodontitis
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Gastric ulcers
- Preterm babies
Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease
- Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine helps keep your smile in a healthy state.
- Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. New medications should always be discussed with your dentist.
- Bad Habits – chewing on ice, inconsistent brushing, not flossing daily, using tobacco, and even vaping are the most common dental aggravators we encourage you to ditch.
- Stress – hello 2020! In all seriousness, do keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. Both high levels and chronic stress leads to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from fighting the gingivitis causing bacteria.
While there’s no at-home cure, thankfully periodontitis is preventable. And in every case, it is treatable! Your dental treatment plan is always based 100% on your unique needs.